I’m not one to follow recipes. Where it says, “Add a tablespoon of flour” I throw in a handful. Where it says, “Add one cup of sugar” I squirt in some honey and/or maple syrup or a scoop of the white stuff. Where it says, “Pour in wine and stir,” I drink a glass. You get my drift.
No, recipes are simply guidelines for me. I still do what I want after I’ve been inspired by the general idea of making something that sounds yummy for dinner. The same is true with writing.
There are myriad guidebooks, how-to books, self-help books that all outline or describe how to write.. Structure. Character development. Do’s and don’ts when it comes to diction. How can you keep up with everything you are and are not supposed to do and write your story? Frankly, I have no idea nor do I have suggestions about that.
But I do have a suggestion about writing. Write it. If you need a guide great—that’s fine. But I encourage you to write your story, your way. Where it says your character must walk a certain path, it’s OK to have him go the other way. Where it says you can’t do something within a certain genre, it’s OK to foray into something new and different. And where it says to take a break and have a glass of wine . . . Well, I say you should definitely do that.